Quiet and common notions...shared here...with you! Of life ~ our hearts and our home.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hands

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The other morning as I sat cradling my infant daughter in my arms, I held her hand warmly...and she clung tight.  To both my hand and my heart.

I took a long look at our hands together.  Hers so little and young.  Still so new - at 6 months of age. The ones that are still exploring and ever learning.  They're soft and kind... completely gentle and sweet.  So much life to live... and give.

Mine, on the other hand, have had lots of time run through these fingers.  They've been through the rough elements, gotten hurt, blistered and scarred.  They've been busy - but rather neglected.  My skin is tough and calloused.  My hands have been often stubborn and unwilling.  At the same time... I know that my hands long for and desire to be Jesus' hands.  You know? 
Have I blessed enough?  Been kind enough?  Served enough? Have they lived well?  Made a difference?Taught anything?
Will they continue to do any and all of this...and how much longer? 

Just questions...I ponder.

The difference lies rooted in this:  What will my daughter's hand(s) look like, be like, by the time she is my age and beyond? 

How will she be influenced?  Will she one day make a difference?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Saying thank you.... for the everyday. Every Day!

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You know when something is lost and you've looked high and low and yet it is nowhere to be found... you leave the room... come back and its been sitting right there, all along, staring right back at you like it had eyes?

This is almost the way it went down, last evening.  I was washing dishes, after we had guests in our home for "Guess who's coming to dinner?", when I realized that two of our coffee mugs...yes, two of these...went magically missing.  GONE! I tell you.  It was truly so perplexing. 

Could this be something to random to pray about? 

No. 

It wasn't. 

I prayed for the Lord to help me find these two mugs and lo and behold...there they were, found this morning, both of them in the microwave- waiting to get nuked, from yesterday afternoon, but it never happened, and well quite frankly the Lord answered my prayers. 

((Please tell me your not a coffee snob and that you will nuke your coffee, from earlier in the day - or perhaps even the day before.  Please, tell me we're not the only ones!))

But all this brings me to my thoughts this morning. Do you see God in the everyday, every day? Does the daily grind keep you so busy and focused yet you fail to slow and see it in the little things?


Is your dependence on HIM - even if it is just for something you've lost and you've since said a prayer?

God works in the everyday.  Every day.  The ordinary.  The commonplace.  The daily...daily grind.  The ho-hum, humdrum.

Anything could've happened to those coffee mugs.  The kiddo's like to help clear the table - they could've gone anywhere.  The trash, behind the couch, in a different cupboard...you name it.  I believe though, that if we take God at his word and believe him to be alive and powerful and aware of our every need - He will deliver. 

I think it is so true of us... to just go about our day - mindlessly and "fast" and unaware of God in the everyday.  Can we thank him for being in the center of it all?  Is He your center?

***
Continuing to count onward toward the One Thousand Gifts.

#804. the everyday

#805. running water (straight out of the tap)

#806. electric - that its in my home

#807. the invention of disposible diapers (especially after this weekend with a sick little baby gal)

#808. answered prayers, over lost items - especially of two random missing coffee mugs

#809. new friends

#810. the chance to go to the grocery store - late at night - alone!!

#811. just noticing...daffodils starting to bloom

#812. this woman, who's book,... A Life That Says Welcome, that has been consistently affecting my life

#813. cobwebs in the corners - they have brought me (much) humility

#814. for a hubby who still loves...time and time again...however imperfectly

#815. when he doesn't say it, the Lord does - "Girl, You are Beautiful".

#816. servant hearts

#817. good news

#818. our daily bread (provision)

#819. getting along... and helping one another

#820. words that bless...encourage...bring smiles...words that heal

#821. saying YES!

#822. messiness

#823. Blessings!

#824. accountablity

#825. the old is gone, the new has come...

#826. for every day that ends in "whY".



Friday, February 24, 2012

{this moment} | this gives me the goosebumps

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I don't know if this counts toward {this moment}, and its guidelines. I mean this no photo, but it is a snapshot of the "love" I've been experiencing here of late. I seriously got the goosebumps this morning when I opened up my email. I so seriously needed this encouragement. And a couple of other of ya'lls comments have been right up "there" as well. Thank you, all so much. Love you.



Oh my goodness Bev, I love your blog I clicked on yesterday. Someone had told me you wrote something like this and how wonderful it was but I had never searched for it. I just love it!!!! I could spend hours reading it, I love stuff like this. So beautifully written, so inspiring. I am so computer illiterate. Is there a way that I can get your posts to come to my e-mail or do I always need to go find it somehow. LIke I said, I am clueless with computer stuff. I stumbled onto your ladies breakfast post and I have been so wanting to do that with a few women. You have inspired me to persue this idea and put something on the calendar.




I love the music. I could sit here for hours. Guess my family would wonder what happened to me :)


Thanks for sharing your life.


love,
T. D.
******

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. ~ Amanda Soule



Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What was her secret?

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You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise (glorify) your Father in heaven.  ~ Matthew 5:14-16


Are you happy?  By that, I'm asking, are you content?

This thought struck me, the other morning, as I was reading in my devotional.  I don't know if I would have ever put the two thoughts together - this one of me being a light in this world coupled with the thought of contentment.

The story was shared of a young woman who had a husband who was no Prince Charming!  He wasn't handsome.  He was slow of speech.  He wasn't exactly lazy but money didn't flow into the home very freely.  Their vehicles showed the obvious...rusty, battered and bent.  They lived in old trailer (not even a double-wide) which lacked in charm.  But she had it painted white and set a chair on the front porch.  She planted flowers along its frontside and around back and fixed up a picket fence, along the driveway where red roses were blooming beautifully and given to their climb. 

When visitors knocked on the front door, unannounced in their coming...they noticed that the lawn was freshly mowed.  The young mother opened the door with a quiet smile. a trim dress and her hair was neatly combed.   Her children were polite and well mannered.  The aroma of the home kitchen flooded through the open door... it was good!  She didn't have much, but she made the most of what she had. 

What was her secret?

Apparently, contentment doesn't show up just only on your face but it can be evidenced in all areas of your life... and quite frankly, contentment can even show up in your yard. 

I love how this women's attitude, of her given situation, filtered through to all areas of her life.  It was noticed.

As a mother and as a homemaker, myself...this challenge is ever before me.  I'm the light...they see...in this place.  My husband and children know if I'm burning brightly, with contentment, or not.  Contentment, true contentment, doesn't ponder quandary while no one is looking.  It shows up in my smile, my speech, my body-language...my yard.  Contentment is like a lit candle, satisfied to burn brightly in a dark place, high on hill for all to see.  Contentment isn't guady.  Nor, is it outrageous in it's display.  It's simplistic in it's form.  Quietly reflecting...

It matters.  Here's why it matters.

The old saying sums it up so well, "Happiness is not in having what you like, but in liking what you have."

... all to the glory of God.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

fast~fingered, fun~food

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Please tell me you've heard of Finger Jell-O...

Recently, two of my friends (and their families) have told me that they weren't so sure what Finger Jell-O was... and seemed some-what reluctant to try it.  I think...I've since made them a believer, even though I won't tell you, or them, what gelatin (major ingredient in Jell-O) is really made from, and because of that, in some folks perspective, Jell-O is considered a non-food.  Not mine...even though I can see what they're saying.

Okay.

Moving on.

We had so much fun!  Today, it was Caleb's turn to take snack for his Pre-school Class.  I made Finger Jell-O for our recent overnight guests and he is so like his Mother...when it comes to food...he remembered how fun Finger Jell-O could be and so, he so badly wanted me to make this for his class, as well.  I asked, several times, if he was sure and even gave other options but he always came back to this.

So, I obliged.



I found a recipe that has become a fast favorite for Finger Jell-O.  Can you tell I love Jell-O?  It includes Whipping Cream.  Can you see the two layers in the photo?  It's just pretty...and something different.  Okay, so I know you're all shaking your heads and laughing at me. ;)

Here is the recipe.

Cream Finger Jell-O
3 (3 oz.) pkg. any flavor of Jell-O  ( I used black raspberry)
3 cups hot water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup whipping cream or heavy cream ( I used light cream)

Dissolve Jell-O in hot water.  Dissolve unflavored gelatin in cold water.  Combine the two mixtures and cool 10 minutes.  Add cream and stir.  Pour into 9x13 pan and refrigerate.  This Jell-O sets quickly and seperates, making it look like two layers.  Use cookie cutters to make different Jell-O shapes.

Or.  You could do like I did and pour about 1/3 cup of hot Jell-O into paper-lined cupcake tins, chill to set and just peel paper off to eat.  So easy and fun.   One recipe made about 18-20 cups...if I remember correctly.  I made some without the cream - just in case there were any food allergies to milk.

***
Here's to a fast~fingered, fun~food idea!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Yes + Mess = Bless

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You remember we were expecting (overnight) company for this past weekend, right?  I showed you my upstairs bathroom floor, the other day.  It was actually pretty clean - for a change.  Not that you would know that (until now, that is) and now you do because I told you so.

But we had said "yes"... to our friends, a family of six.  An idea that was brewing, for both families, for awhile.  To have them stay overnight would be a privilege...an idea that is just right up my ally.  One of my dreams has always been to one day have a Bed and Breakfast, so to speak, and in a sense that dream was realized this past weekend.  (I think this anytime we have overnight guests in our home.  I just do.)

All four of us adults are HUGE coffee drinkers.  I love mismatched china, but my current set of coffee mugs are all alike and, in the past, we've had issues with who's coffee cup is who's? and so, I thought I'd tag them this time around and that way it wouldn't be such a mess.  A little too cutesy for the guys, perhaps, but they went with it.

Getting the wrong cup can be rather unsettling after you've realized it...and it's too late.  Been there, done that.

The funny thing is, is that this actually happened - again! We did GREAT, with this tagged-mug idea, the whole stinkin' weekend until the last hour of the night.  I actually poured the last cup of coffee into my own mug- but handed it off (unknowingly) into Mike's hand and that was that...until I went looking for it and it was GONE. 

Nothing to do but to laugh it off. 
*** 

Getting to the heart of this post, where saying Yes! - can get messy. 
 
I want you to know that as I read this post from Emily Freeman, over at Chatting at the Sky, the other morning.  It completely inspired my thoughts, here today.  I hope you will read her words first before you continue reading what I have to say.

Yes, I said messy.  Not because it wasn't a fabulous weekend.  NO!  All was absolutely fantastic.  Everything went pretty smoothly.  Our three and their four children get along very well...almost too well.  So yes, while we Mothers had plenty of interruptions (By the way, this was all discussed - my friend and I, so no surprises here), meaning there were kiddo squabbles to separate and work through.  There was tending to needy children and diapers.  Food was good - but my two didn't want to eat like they should have.  The house got upturned...but that's fully expected.  There was NOISE! and the adults added plenty of their own.  Night-time came upon us all ... and bedtime?, who wants to go to sleep?  This is a blast...lets talk, fool around and have fun.  At the end of the day... We ALL were Blessed.

Prior to them coming, though, my to-do list was long.  Lots of expectations (on myself) to ensure that all would go off without a hitch.  But here is where it got the messiest.  My heart.  Saturday morning, I was really getting "nervy" with my little brood...trying to get it "all done".  We had errands to run, dishes to wash, food to prepare, more dishes to wash, laundry was going which meant there were beds to re-make (as I had washed all the bed linens to make sure our guests would sleep peacefully and have sweet dreams)... the clock was tickin' strong, and fast.  The race was on.  I was beginning to murmur and complain against my hubby -- who wasn't even home most of Saturday, to defend himself, because he had other obligations - butchering hogs.  I knew that.  Yet still, in the moment, I felt abandoned... the phone was ringing off the hook... our landlord at the door, looking for Scott...the clock was telling me I was seemingly way behind and I was beginning to have a "melt-down".  The cream wouldn't whip.  The kiddo's needed baths, the baby is crying. Would this ever all come together? 

((It wasn't just the event of our friends coming to spend the night... we ALSO had dinner plans (a double-date) with another couple, from church - very dear friends of ours, this particular evening.  Someone offered to watch our children and so there was this extra umph to "get it all done" before we left to go out with them.  These overnight guests were coming later...about the same timeframe we got back home.  To which we all had dessert together and down-deep I was honestly wishing we had another room to put up these dear friends as well.  It just seemed just crazy to watch them walk away... after a wonderful evening of fellowship with them.  And.  I need to clarify something.  When my hubby DID get home...the clock seemed to have stopped.  HE was the one that took the kiddo's to get bathed...and helped to tie up loose ends.  Sigh!!  Oh, how I love my man.))

I was so glad I said YES! to this whole idea of an overnight-er.  I was very, VERY excited about being "a blessing"... but I was beginning to wallow in this mess I was making, in and with myself, and it wasn't looking very pretty.  You see, My goal was to be a Mary in this moment...I just wanted to BE!  However, I know me and so often I tend to be a Martha... and I got caught and was told several times to sit down and "enjoy" the BE-ing.  (Ahemm, Someone had to pour the coffee...at best, make another pot. And.  Yes!  Our friends helped out immensly with the pouring of coffee or the doing of dishes when they were told NOT to, etc.)

Even though the hours got late.  Our eyes were burnin' tired.  We shared and bared our souls.  Got honest.  The coffee got cold and reheated.  The kids were trippin' over themselves ... exhausted, happy. Games were played, books were read, stories were being swapped left and right.  Our bottoms never tired of sitting on the hardback kitchen chairs... oh well maybe, they did!... but we didn't care.

This was all good.  A yes turned mess ending to bless.  All around
I'm so grateful for God's grace. 

As we lay in the dark, at the end of the day...my hubby takes my hand in his and whispers,
"You know, babe, none of this weekend would've happened if it wasn't for you.  Thank you, for all you did in making this such a fun weekend".  To which I reply,"Really? - You mean that? `Cuz the tagged mugs still got switched, I mean... I really did try.  But..."

I couldn't get over the beauty of this moment.

I think it was honestly one of the best weekends we've ever had together...as a couple, as a family...with our dear friends.  All gifts from God.


That was grace.  Those words sweetly spoken, by my man.  Whispered encouragement - that's what I needed.  He really mean it.  But it was really all because of the Lord.  It was the Lord that made of the mess...a beautiful thing.

At least for me.  The effort to bless or to be a blessing is often surrounded by and quickly results in some form of self-imposed mess.   However, I love this truth.  It takes courage to continue to say "Yes!"... and with all that we are... we can still be a real blessing to one another.



PS:  You know what?  Two things I still can't believe about this past weekend.  Our friends have never had nor heard of finger-jello before and two, their brave enough to want a repeat of this wild and crazy idea of another sleepover.  They want it and we want it, too.

Friday, February 17, 2012

{this moment} :: It's actually Clean!

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{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  ~ Amanda Soule



****

We're looking forward to a fun-filled, fabulous weekend, with overnight guests!  And more...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kindness

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I don't know if you caught this line in my post the other day, where my four year old son, Caleb, will regularly pray,  "Dear God, help us to be kind and loving".  And yesterday, I spoke of spreading a little bit of "kind and loving", with our Valentine's cards - taking them to my husbands co-workers.

As I sat to my morning devotions this morning... this very theme was running through the pages of the chapter I'm in.

Kindness.

I don't mean to get hung up on this subject line... but it keeps coming to my mind and to the forefront.  I think Someone might be trying to get my attention with it - what do you think?

This one line really hit me hard over the head.

"Familiarity can become an enemy of Kindness."

Ouch! 

It's true, though. 

It's easy to think that we can get away with being unkind to our spouses, our children or even are own family members because they know us best.  We settle for "it's just the way we are" - or, we really aren't this unkind, (on a regular basis), but... "they'll get over it".

This convicting illustration was used.  (I'm paraphrasing it a bit.)

"A mother developed a habit of being cross and complaining at home.   Away from home she was as sweet as sweet could be.  (Oh! this sounds like me.)  One night after she was especially irritable, she heard her child pray, 'Dear God, make Mommy be kind to us like she is to people we visit.'

"At first she thought the prayer was funny.  She mentioned it to her husband.  He looked at her with a serious expression.  Then he said. 'You do not treat us with the same courtesy that you show our friends and people out in the working community.'

It was a real turning point for that Mama."
Me too. 

Here is another convicting thought from the morning devotional.
"True kindness is best tested with your best friends and family members.  If you do not practice kindness to those closest to you, you really aren't a kind person, after all."

Good stuff to think about...

Isn't it?

"Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and it comes as a result of our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  It (the Spirit of Kindness) needs to be nourished, by spending time with the Word of God and through the power of the Holy Spirit."

Do I always feel like being kind and loving?  No!  Especially, in my mothering, sad to say. But a good measure of my growth is when my response towards ill-will would naturally tend to come off as rude, rough, gruff and unkind...but instead be full of grace, extending the hand of mercy...seasoned with salt.

Kindness.

"Dear God, help me to be kind and loving."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

spread a little "kind and loving"...

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So, how was your Valentine's Day?

Ours was every bit filled with ....

 L.O.V.E!


We had big intentions to take our handmade Valentine Cards to the local Nursing Home, to hand out the residents there - hoping to spread a little "kind and loving" to them.  But when we asked at the front desk if it would be okay ... it seemed like maybe today was not a good day.  Bummer!  They already had a day planned of activities.  That made me sad, and the kiddo's too, not for the residents... but for us.

 I wasn't sure what to do.

When I called my husband to let him know we weren't going to be handing out Valentine's - there... we got invited to "come on down to work", instead.

You know what?!?!

His co-workers - a large majority of them, at least - just may have heard the gospel for the first time today...through perhaps a simple little ole Valentine Card. 

Praying to that end.

At best.  We at least brought a few smiles and a friendly face and we received the same in return.  Scott's co-workers always love seeing and hearing about his little ones...back home.

Just spreading some "kind and loving" around... that's all.

Monday, February 13, 2012

An Abundance of Love

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I'm sitting here in the irony of the moment.  It's soon to be Valentine's Day!  Tomorrow.

I was blessed to be able to go to my 4 year-old's Pre-K class this morning to be a "class helper", and of course he came home with An Abundance of Love...from all of his classmates and both of his teachers.  All kinds of cards and candy.

His sister only one wanted one piece - of something.  Perhaps a single Chocolate Kiss?  And he couldn't do it.  There was no love, in the moment, to share.

It broke my heart to watch this exchange unfold before my very eyes and fall on my bent ear.  I was listening and waiting for the softening...

You know?  We can try with all of our might to make our kids understand the meaning of being kind and loving.  To share, with others what is ours to start.  In fact.  Almost - every single time my son wants/asks to lead out in prayer at the dinner table he starts with these very words.

"Dear God, Help us to be kind and loving...". 

That is the first thing out of his mouth! I know it must be a deep-down desire of his little ole heart.  But really?  When reality hits...it's plain hard.  Hard. To. Do.  Simple as that.

Don't we (as grownups) know it, too.

The paper hearts all sit there in a pretty pile.  It's the thing you write on those handmade Valentine cards...
But the reality to put those words into action is really where the rubber meets the road.

When the ::Hugs and Kisses:: are nowhere to be seen...we still need to share!

When "You're Special" means very little, in the moment...we still need to be loving, in return.

Its what Jesus would do.  It's what He's done.

I can relate.  I don't always feel kind and loving either.  Its really hard to get over yourself and extend grace... to share, with the unlovely... to be loving, regardless of the situation.

It's what we're called to do and be.

I hugged my little guy closer as I could see that my words (of encouragement) were having an affect on his heart.  There was a definite softening...

A smile broke out on the faces of all three of us.  That circle of love...overspilling in abundance. 

One Chocolate kiss...for her.  It's all she wanted.

~

Continuing to count the abundance of Love in expressing the One Thousand Gifts.
781. ::Hugs and Kisses::

782. a softened heart

783. tears that fall like rain

784. a firm handshake

785. a child-like faith

786. travelling mercies over our weekend NY bound road-trip

787. a good visit with Susie-Mom (and our Aunt & Uncle)

788. a hug Hello!

789. a little guy in Caleb's class - paying me a compliment.  completely cute and unexpected.

790. watching my son interact in his class ...some moments of pure pride and others not-so-much

791. school-teachers who give it their all and then some

792. How deep the Father's Love for us...

793. {It's} vast beyond all measure...

794. the twinkle in his eye - for me

795. when we share - our world just opens up with whole new meaning

796. date nights

797. finding a valid gift card behind the dining room radiator... it paid for our dinner.  Great date night!!

798. when my hubby fills my tank with gas...my love-tank is full, too

799. holding hands while driving down the highway

800. heart-shaped pizzas

801. I'm something special, I'm the only one of my kind...

802. our ability.  to share.  our kind and loving. with those. who. need it most.

803. Because of Him!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Around the Homestead :: A ~ Z | The Letters P, Q & R

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Welcome! to what I call


Around the Homestead :: A~Z


This is a self-imposed photo project where I've taken my camera and have hunted down letters of the alphabet characteristic of things in nature and reminiscent of the farm that we live on. My hope is to, one day, make a photo collage and give it as a gift to our landlord and his wife.



Today I'm covering letters P, Q and R.
 

This rusty lock pin is probably one of my all time favorite finds for this photo project.  It holds the garden gate out to the cow pasture.  Safe enough?  It is what it is.  I still love it.  Gate and all.

This next photo is obviously meant to be for my letter Q.  I know you see it...although it is currently the wrong direction for the said letter.  What this is, is an original hook for one of the window shutters on our farmhouse.  Obviously, it isn't a functioning means anymore... and its painted over. When I add this photo to the photo collage, I'll be sure to it up with some photo editing to make it actually look like a "Q".


The Letter "R" came rather quickly to me while looking for letters.  It's probably one of my first photos that I took for this project.

I'm sure you see it, too...no problem! 

 I most likely will do some editing to this photo as well once it's all said and done.


 
There you have it for "P", "Q" and "R"...
Around the Homestead.
 
***

Have yourself a Fabulous Weekend.
 
I'm wishing myself the same.
 
It's got a lot going on and some of it not so fun.
 
We're all sick - AGAIN!
(The kiddos with colds and ear infections - all three are on Albuterol Nebs, as needed, and antibiotics, as of yesterday.)
Scott has an Exam due around 9:00AM for his schooling.
 
Grandma Susie is in the hospital - since Wednesday- and we might be making a run to NY to go visit, on Saturday evening.  Not sure yet.
 
If we do that, we'll be missing out on an awesome chance to participate in a completely FREE -
Video Presentation/Outreach, on Saturday evening,
with our church to see
Courageous.
 
 
If your local, local and you have nothing else going on tomorrow evening.  Go! Check it out and remember it is a completely FREE event for you and your family.

If we're there.  That's if we can find a babysitter. 
 We'll look for you!! (smile) 
 
 
 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We're in the mood...

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to bake some cookies around here.   At least Aubrey is for sure. 

Besides, its snowing here, today.  And is there any one thing more fun to do when the flakes are falling...besides perhaps to sew?  I digress.


Listen to this.

I agreed it would be a great day to bake some cookies.  But I must have mumbled something, under my breath, about not having any brown sugar, in the house, that we may have to borrow a cup from next door, and she heard me.  I noticed Aubrey putting on her shoes...but didn't think much about it...until I heard the front door open and close behind her.  I was in the middle of changing Baby Jayne's diaper.  I realize it was Aubrey and ran quickly to the door. I called out after her to get back inside (it's cold out there!) but she was already across the way to our next door neighbor, Amanda.

When she came back onto the porch, she's profusely explaining that she can do it herself.  "Do WHAT yourself?"  "Get sugar - I can go dare and get it myself.  I can, Mom".

I chuckled.  I explained.  "We need to call her first, she might not even have any... and if she does, then you can go and knock on her door and bring home 'duh suga', baby".

We set out to make these...

** this,Yummy Goodness!

But, in reading the directions on the back of the bag... I got the wrong recipe by mistake and so now it's Chocolate White Chocolate Chip cookies.  Still, not bad for a cookie fix. 

Besides, it's soon Valentine's Day and Chocolate is good...all around.  I had just been thinking of the White Chocolate Chip kind with a little bit of red (craisens or other dried fruit) sprinkled throughout - all festive, you know. 

I'm not complaining...except that NOW I'M really out of sugar (brown AND white), and flour, and...
ahmpt, there goes the timer

Off to go pull another tray from the oven.

Enjoy, your day!

PS:  Thanks for the sugar, Miss Amanda!  It's greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Charming Play - by - Play

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Aubrey:  "Let's have a Tea Party.  Okay, Jayne?"


Jayne:  "What ever are you serving me, Miss Aubrey?" 
Aubrey:  "Precisely. Well... today it's Chocolate Cake with a spot of tea."


Aubrey:  "Alright then, Miss Jayne, since you don't care for the Chocolate Cake - how about some White Chocolate Cheesecake, topped with whipped creme, served up in a cup? "


Aubrey:  "Be careful, Jayne.  You're gonna love this.  It's lip-smackin' good and...yummy!" 

Aubrey:  "Delectable, yes?!?!"

Jayne:  "No, actually!  The pretty purple plate is much more pleasing to the palate... and it really wasn't White Chocolate Cheesecake you served, now was it?  It was just plastic.  Didn't your Mother teach you how to cook properly?"

Aubrey:  "But Jayne, I fear for your safety - should you swallow a whole plate!"

In walks Sir Caleb. He always bring a certain calming charm to the room, if you will... as soon as comes on the scene.  He is so dashing...the young man.

Alas!  All is well.

***

"When I was a little girl, I used to dream of being a 'lady'.  The world of Little Women, with its gracious manners and old-fashioned, flowing dresses fascinated me.  Softness and lace, tantalizing fragrance and exquisite texture, a nurturing spirit and a love of beauty -- these images of femininity shaped by earliest ideas of lovliness." ~ Emilie Barnes, Spirit of Lovliness

I would say.  Me too! 

I'm so glad my little ones are learning... trying to be little ladies and a charming gentleman - as I look over my shoulder and literally, right NOW, at this exact moment, they are playing with brooms and sweeper heads that they are off hunting a deer or two and they are missing them everytime they shoot their guns - because the deer have run off. 
I've never heard so much intense anticipation to finding it in the next room, etc.

Mom: "Can I please have a plate of delectable cake and some hot tea, with honey?  I'm feeling quite faint over here and fear a headache coming on...(fluttering my hankie in front of my face)"

Anyone??

The deer hunting continues... and so does my dream of little fair ladies and charming gentlemen in their everyday play-by-play.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Slowing down...allows more time...to say Thank You!

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"Mom!  I want to go there".  It was 10:30am.

"Yes, Caleb.  When this little hand sits at the 2 and this big hand is all the way up here at the number 12.  Then we'll get ready to go".

"Can I stand here and wait for it?  Watch it get there?"... my four year old son wanted to know.

I chuckled at the thought of him sitting/standing in my kitchen the whole time to watch time move on.  I quickly explained to him, as best I could, that if you stand to watch the time go by - you'll be waiting a really, really long time...because it goes by so s.l.o.w.l.y.

And I told him that if he'd run off and go play, to busy himself - that the time would go by (much, much) faster and before "you know it... it's time!!!!  Time to go.  Time to be.  Time to... enjoy".

I got to thinking about the irony.

And.  Ahh!!  This is exactly the same as when this question, "Where did the time go?", comes to the forefront of any given conversation.  We ask this of ourselves all of the time, don't we?  What happened?  Where did it go - the hour, the day, the year?


I was challenged to think about what I could do (or not do) to SLOW down and live this year intentionally so as not to have it whiz right by me, leaving me to wonder where it went.  Stop busy-ing myself so much that I miss the moments.

I was struck by this vivid picture - one that I remember from, I believe, just after Christmas and right before the New Year.  Scott and I were at the local Post Office.  He had gone into drop off a piece of mail, for delivery, and I was sitting in the car with the children.  I couldn't help but notice all the hustle and bustle that was going on - in the parking lot.  Cars coming and going.  People in a hurry.  A real hurry.  In and Out.

My eyes caught sight of this elderly gentleman coming out of the post office.  My guess was that he was in his early to late seventies.  So it wasn't like he was slow due to his age...if you know what I mean.  But what I noticed was he how just took his time.  Meandering s.l.o.w.l.y through the hustle and bustle... he would stop now and again to thumb through his mail and honestly, he was in no real hurry to get on with life.  No matter to him if a car was coming around the corner or not.  He was the pedestrian.  It seemed good with him.  This pace.

I liked that.

I smiled.

I sensed the imagery of the moment whell up within me and I (literally) thanked God in the moment for that gift.  This picture.  One I hope to not ever forget. 

The paradox is this.

What seems to be time-management, efficiency, good stewardship, all good things, can in turn be a bout of selfish motives, impatience, inconvenience, false expectation and at most....pride.

I don't know the woman's story.  The one who sits in her car behind me at an intersection who is "telling me off ", using all kinds of hand motion and glaring expressions, because I didn't go....when she thought I would have had plenty of time to "make it".  You know...the get up and GO!!!

I don't know, something tells me this "mom" was on a tight schedule.  She had places to go and people to see and I was simply in her way.  Or, maybe she just got caught up in this fast-paced lifestyle...and time was of the essence.

It's okay.  Don't get me wrong.  We ALL have our hurry-up moments...the kind that get us nowhere FAST...don't we?  We want to teach our children those good character qualities of coming immediately when they're called; to do a good job - properly and efficiently, all in good time... and yes! there is a balance to be made in this dichotomy.  In order to do a good job - we need to slow down.  Practice patience with others and ourselves.  Have a mindset as unto the Lord and not unto men.

Oh, how much grace He extends towards us on a regular basis.

Back to the story of the "mom on a mission".  I literally had to make a choice of how I was going to handle my reaction or was it going to be my response?  I (honestly) felt angst rise up within me and I was frustrated...both at her and myself.  Then I "stopped" (Not literally.  I was driving, remember?), and took time to say a prayer.  For this woman. Who knew (honestly) what she was going through right then - in her current life situation.  And I prayed, for myself, to allow this moment, this transaction, this exchange that had just taken place to resonate within me...asking God to help me remember...and thanking Him for this.

***
Do you catch yourself always telling your kids to "hurry up!"? 

Do you say things like, "Quick!, brush your teeth", "Hurry up and finish your breakfast - we have to GO!"?

How about, "Pay attention!" or  "Slow down! ....and stop running on ahead", etc.?

It's interesting, isn't it?  All that we encounter in any given day... and yet, on top of all that I just said, think of ALL the things that we don't do and oh! how much we miss.

I was reminded of this, again, while reading in the book I first mentioned last week - Prayers and Peanut Butter.  The author brings to mind how each day is a gift and we must take it.

(Most of what I'm saying here, next, was adapted from what she writes - it is not written word-for-word...and it got me thinking to add some of my own thoughts...and analogy.)

So often, we honestly don't get outside...enough.  We need to and we don't.  In this modern age we live in ... we stay indoors.  We seldom notice the stars anymore because we drive right into our garages, park our car and go indoors from there.  Our kids get the mail from the mailbox - we don't have to and so we miss the cool breezes blowing across the way.  We have garbage disposals and the ever present drive-through.  We have bedtime schedules, for our kids and we forget about the flitting fireflies out there in the dark, backyard - showing us by their twinkling lights where they are so we can run and catch them collecting them into a jar.   We have air-conditioning so our windows are never open to hear the night time sounds of crickets and cows mooing in the back forty.  We miss the birds singing their songs in the early morning light - again, because those windows are closed.
We don't sit on our front porches, anymore - like the good ole days - and so we miss the beautiful sunsets and fore go a great conversation that might ensue.

Do we see the gifts?  Do we?

~~~

I realize this is a rather lengthy post and I may have lost you along the way... perhaps I was too slow!?!?  But that's okay.  I'm planning  I wanted to finish off the the list to One Thousand Gifts today, but it ain't going to happen...join along if you'd like and consider saying Thank You! to your Maker for all the gifts He grants to You in any one given day.  Like I said I wanted to keep on going and finish the list... but  it looks like I still need to slow down and take the time to enjoy them a bit more. 


715. fabulous weekends, back to back

716. stories on tape - What Would Jesus Do!

717. food samples, handed out, in the grocery store

718. handmade Valentines - getting ready for a school party next week

719. Caleb cutting out; writing his own name and addressing each one...all 16 valentines

720. clocks...that keep time

721. all three children napping - at once

722. "clean up, clean up, everybody clean up" - Caleb is teaching us a song from school.

723. repeated gifts

724. comments the children say that make me smile - particularly Aubrey

725. "tell me a story when you were a little girl/boy"... the new bedtime regiment

726. the need for Nebulizers again and we have them available - here at home

727. lots of friends

728. the way she looks at me and smiles

729. I found her tickle spot - its up on her shoulder just under her chin

730. her sweet-breath baby kisses -just for Mama

731. she's found her toes

732. cute pudgy baby toes

733. folded clothes and those waiting to be folded

734. the ringing of the phone

735. traffic lights - particularly the red light

736. green is good, too!

737. my favorite color

738. pumpkin pancakes for breakfast

739. spinach.  Can I just tell you how much I love chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry...add to most any recipe for all that it entails...

740. toys in the washer - now sparkly clean

741. automated car wash - ((I should practice what I preach.  Get outdoors and wash it myself.))

742. walking late at night - round and round our driveway

743. pounds lost

744. bath time

745. falling off the roof - explains a lot!

746. store coupons

747. milk-store errands

748. (instrumental) baby lullabies

749. a friend asking for and appreciating your decorating style and advice

750. Kindergarten!  the potential is endless...

751. child-like faith and prayers answered, literally right before our eyes

752. when the lost has been found

753. relief from intermittent lower back pain

754. creativity in the kitchen

755. my very cool green clock

756. tea parties between sisters - along comes brother...he joins in and it's all good.

757. crying out...I'm so sorry...and their little arms circle around my neck with an "I forgive you" - again and again!

758. another hug.

759. blankets to snuggle under

780. The (mouth-watering, soul-satisfying) Bread of Life!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Just wanted to let you know...

... .. . .. .. .. . .. . .. .. . .. .. . .. .... . .. . .. .. . .. .. . .. ..
No offense to anyone.  This choice was all my doing.  I've decided that I rather be without the twinkle of FB, in my eye...and instead, I'm nodding off and bidding it adieu.  I would rather have more time and attention spent here. blogging, and be without that said distraction.  Come Monday...It's gone.

Besides.  FB is really getting messy.  I'm opting out.  For now, at least.

I will say I wasn't on it that much...although I did have my blog and my etsy shop linked... but if you're still friends (in real life) you'll know where to find me.

I'm still here, at Treasured Up and Pondered.  And at home. ;)

Friends?!?!

{this moment}

.. . .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .. . . .. . .. ... .. . . . .. . .. . . .. . .. .
~*~*~*~
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. ~ Amanda Soule.


Happy Weekending, my friend!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wash this, Mom!

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I still laugh every time I take a look at this story in photos. 
Sorry, no photoshoping done.  Red-eyes and all...makes me chuckle all the more.

:::  ::  :::
Happy Wednesday,  to you all!

I'm off, this morning to a meeting to see about putting this red-eyed monster, school boy into Kindergarten.
Whatta ya think?

And the girl.  If she isn't ready for Pre-School, next year?  Somethin's very wrong.
Very, VERY wrong.

"Wash Watch this, Mom!  We're on our way to growin' up".
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